Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mystery Loves Company

Today for thee, a short list:
  • I confess my undying passion for Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, Eighth Earl of Asherton.

  • I also confess that the above mentioned Thomas Lynley is, well, a fictional character from an amazingly well-written series of mysteries by Elizabeth George and my passion shall go unrequited.

  • *Sigh*

  • I highly encourage you to pick up the series, starting with A Great Deliverance and read it, read it as soon as you can.

  • The series need not be read in order, but it helps. (I read the most recent one, Careless in Red first.)

  • Make sure to set aside a goodly block of time in which to read each book, as they will suck you into what I refer to as "The Book Vortex," a curious place where time and space lose all meaning.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nothing to read.

Sounds dumb, I know. I mean not only do I have a literal ton of books at home, I own a bookstore for crying out loud. But sometimes, I just cannot find something that tempts me. I want something light, but not fluffy. Nothing that is going to make me cry, or insert itself into my dreams. At the suggestion of one of my co-workers I read Dietgirl the other night. It was fine. A quick, easy read following the true story about one woman's quest to loose half her body weight (she started at 350 lbs and took five years to do it!) Like I said, it was fine. I want something with a leetle more teeth to it. I got half way through The Bone People last week. I will finish it, but need a break. I do most of my reading at night and I found that I have a hard time remember if someone is talking, or thinking, and who it is. I have some galleys that look promising, but I am still casting about for a nice toothy mystery. Any suggestions?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

I am always in search of something good to read. I know, I work in a bookstore and the possibilities are endless, yes? Well, sure, but sometimes there are so many choices it's hard to decide. I always seem to have good luck closing my eyes and playing eenie-meenie-miny-moe, but there is something to be said of making informed choices.

I picked up
The Whiskey Rebels because it was the right time. I had just finished Stephen King's latest collection of short stories (He is a great writer and there is no shame in having a diverse taste in reading material. So there.) and I started to feel panicked. Do you not feel somehow incomplete when you are between books? It really is best to have more than one going at a time but, hey, it was the holiday season and free time I had not. I had heard good things about David Liss and I am always drawn to history and historic novels.

The Whiskey Rebels did not disappoint. Set in post-Revolutionary America, Liss relates the stories of Ethan Saunders, a disgraced war spy accused of treason, and Joan Maycott, the widow of a whiskey distiller. Their stories intertwine until they finally meet on the proverbial battlefield, both with radically different agendas.

Liss has definitely done his homework as you can see; once you finish reading, I dare you not to look up the real Whiskey Rebellion and find out what politicians were up to at the dawn of our country.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Butt Humor

I know that I am likely to offend someone with this post, but here it goes. Butt humor. It is funny. You cannot deny it. Sometimes it is more funny than others. Usually, it is not funny if it smells really bad. I tend to buy the butt humor books for the store. This drives one of my booksellers nuts. She doesn't think they are funny. She thinks they are crass and rude. Hmm. Sometimes I am crass and rude (but I try not to be in front of you, dear reader). Here are some of my favorite butt humor books:

We all know a dog with horrible gas. If you don't, I suggest you get to know Walter. His flatulence is by no means indicative of his personality, which is mild and sweet.

I bought this last Christmas for my daughters to give to my brother. They gleefully showed the book to my mom before the holiday. My mother retorted that my brother was far too mature for a book about poop. Christmas morning came and guess which present everyone was reading all day?

As a kid it was common to get Mad Libs, and then fill in the blanks with the dirtiest word you could think of (poop, fart, stupid). I few years ago I hosted a party that my husband called Meatloaf, Martini's and Mad Libs. I had acquired a set of "adult" Mad Libs. We sat around and filled in the blanks with the dirtiest words we could think of (not appropriate to reprint here, there were martini's there after all). We decided that the clean "kids" Mad Libs with the nasty adult words were way better than the "adult" ones. This is a great activity for winter evenings (not one where I would include young children).


Monday, January 5, 2009

Class Matters

I have to be honest, I rarely read non-fiction. The other day, however, a used book called Class Matters by correspondents of The New York Times came through the store and captured my interest. I borrowed it for a few days and I have been absolutely fascinated by the essays. I'm not quite finished with it, but I can't wait to the end to write about it.

Class Matters Cover

In 2005 The New York Times did a large series on class and its function in America. After the series was published they compiled the essays into this book. I would find the book's commentary on our society interesting even if we hadn't just escaped the horror that was 2008. However, what happened in 2008 - to the nation's economy, the housing market, etc. makes this book especially eerie in its predictions.

In writing about class distinctions one journalist mentions how difficult it is to tell who is in what class. She writes that we may think we are a classless society, but it only appears that way because of how easy it is to get a credit card or a home loan. Within her article she quotes Travis B. Plunkett, the legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America. "Many families that never had access to credit now do. The problem is that a flood of credit is now available to many financially vulnerable families and extended in a reckless and aggressive manner in many cases without thought to implications."

Anyone else feel like clutching their head in agony after reading that quote?? Why didn't we listen!? Why didn't we pay attention so we could see the financial crisis coming instead of waking up one morning wondering what was happening to our country? Ah, well. Hindsight is 20-20, right?

As we move away from 2008 it's important to read books like this to see where we have been and where we may be going. Class Matters discusses health care, immigration, and other pertinent issues that will matter to all of us as we enter into this New Year with a new President.

Here's to 2009 - may it cause less panic, less worry, fewer bailouts and much joy.